Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jersey vested interests: nothing to clap about

The Times newspaper is carrying a letter from Gregory White, from Jersey, responding to Clive Stafford Smith's eminently sensible suggestion that the row in Britain over the tax status of non-dom billionaire Michael Ashcroft could be solved by adopting the US approach of taxing on the basis of citizenship.

This suggestion doesn't please Her Majesty's loyal tax avoiders one little bit. So it comes as no surprise that representatives of the tax avoidance industry in Jersey are huffing and puffing about their ancient rights and privileges, which, by the way, they have been abusing for the greater part of the past millennium.

Unfortunately for Gregory White, however, the tone of his letter reminds us of one of our favourite scenes from the British comedy series Blackadder, when Baldrick - the faithful retainer - is threatened with ejection onto the streets:

Baldrick: "But my Lord, the Blackadders have been in your family for centuries"
Blackadder: "Yes Baldrick, and so has syphilis."

Britain's non-dom rules are anachronistic and should be consigned to history. The concept of citizenship offers a practical and equitable alternative to the residence test. And the ancient rights and privileges of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories should not stand in the way of progress in this respect.

The current system fails to protect public interest and fresh thinking is required. Voices like those of Gregory White and his fellow travellers are a reminder of how deeply rooted the special interest lobby has become.


Blogger Unknown said...

Quite right, but the Junta are so entrenched it is too late now to diversify from the so called Finance industry to such an extent they refuse to recognise it as a Tax Haven. The Island is totally mismanaged, in fact it is a Dictatorship.

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Gregory White's comments (and I pay don't live in Jersey). As I read his letter, his point was that a US style tax regime based on citizenship would not work for British passport holders when you take into account islands like Jersey, who are not represented in the UK Parliament so should not be required to contribute UK economy - they are not entitled to use UK services after all. Jersey attracts international finance by offering a sensible tax regime and in the next few years may benefit substantially from a brain drain from the City.

2:58 pm  

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